I have been sick since a late night of parent-teacher interviews on Monday, after which I began coughing up what feels like the flesh of my lungs and haven't stopped. My voice shut up shop on Tuesday morning and hasn't returned as yet. And yet, rather than hiding under the covers for a few days like any sane person, I kept on teachin' (well, miming and gesturing).
I hauled myself in for each lesson of my two year 12 classes, coughing, spluttering and miming, all because of Teacher's Guilt. This is despite possessing a teaching philosophy and style which means that I am in no way indispensable in the classroom. I am well aware of the fact that my students are able to learn productively in a classroom without my illustrious presence. Intellectually, I am aware of this, but convincing my guilt-infected heart of this seems to be quite another matter.
One of my Year 12's thanked me for coming in to 'teach them', even though I was obviously sick. That was nice. Another berrated my head of faculty for allowing me to be at school when I clearly should be home in bed. That was thoughtful. Did I listen to the signs? Nope.
But while my head throbbed, my back ached and my chest seized all I could think of was my fear of falling behind. It's going to happen anyway- these next few weeks are insane- but it would be even worse if I dropped out of the marathon for a week.
This term has been the most difficult, in terms of workload, that I have experienced so far. It feels as though all I am doing is 'have to's'- prepare classes, correct essay after essay- and I still have no time for any of the 'want to's that should be have to's'- writing, reflecting, reading, extending my ict role, working on a whole school literacy approach, starting a writer's group, planning adventures, having a life, etc.
I don't quite know how to fix this lack of balance, but I need to figure it out soon, because I don't want to teach if this is all there is.
And I don't want to stop teaching.